Västerby – Trail runs and tent spots

No mosquitoes! That crossed my mind when I sat on a smooth rock next to a still lake, sun on my face. I had pitched a tent at Västerby outdoor recreation area in Finland’s south-western coast. Warm bright night in the middle of July. Lake to swim in and blueberries for breakfast.

The recreation area has 1500 hectares of beautiful nature and a nice little trekking network. But it is not just calm place to camp and walk along forest paths. In fact, last weekend I went back there for a trail running event.

I noticed the trail signs on the tree trunks in July and googled the running event. I mulled over the possibility of being able to run 25 kilometres in the woods and finally I signed up on the last possible day. What would I loose?

Because I live in the city, I haven’t been running off the road much, but I was more keen to participate in a trail running event than a half marathon in the city. It would be a lot harder, but surely I’d be fit enough.

So, last Sunday I took off with the other (much better equipped) runners. We headed to the woods forming a neat line and started trotting on. I spent the next couple of hours skipping over the roots and rocks, running sometimes on soft heather and sometimes on bare rock, going up a hill and down a hill, leaping over fallen trees and avoiding ditches.

The 26 degrees Celsius weather was a bit rough and I was in dire need of water each time I reached a drinking spot. It would be smart to carry a water bottle.

I want to say it was fun, but that would not be a right word. My legs stopped following my orders when I had about 5 kilometres left so the last bit was quite a struggle. I was literally just hoping to see the next kilometre signs so I’d know I could stop running soon. But I ran the whole way and that was my goal!

That was a different way to experience the Västerby outdoor recreation area. And it was a much more interesting than running on the roads in the city. Every time I looked up from the trail, I was looking at beautiful scenery with reddish pine trunks, blue lakes and purple heather.

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